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Chapter Twenty-Five;

Neil stepped out of his office, grave look on his face, and then cleared his throat to grab the attention of the people in the room. "Craig Bolt was sighted leaving St. Hugh's following Eleanor Roxon from the hospital. She, he and, in turn, PC Millie Brown, were last seen headed in the direction of Cutler Lane and the railway underpass. Uniform have sent two PCs to gather CCTV footage. I need two more of you."

Instantly Will stood. "I'm on it guv." It was Will's nature of course and the very idea that a fellow officer, anyone really, was in trouble and he could stop it being so – he was on it. No one was surprised when he jumped to his feet. It was the other man rising slowly, straightening his jacket, that caused eyes to rise.

"I'll take charge of the task." The sergeant had no expression on his face, none whatsoever, and Neil frowned slightly. "I've got nothing go on right now." It was a lie, there was plenty he could be doing, and Neil knew it. He made no effort to hide that he did.

"Are you sure Max?"

Max just nodded as he and Will walked past. "He's not getting one of our own guv." And with no more explanation than that, Max shoved his hands in his jacket pockets and walked from the room, leaving a mute Neil in his wake.

"Hey Stevie, check this out." Nate's eager voice floated across the small Brecht apartment as, clad in blue suits and gloves, the pair picked through what was left of the evidence. The firies had taken the most notable stuff but there was a reason they were firies and Stevie was a detective – she noted the stuff that seemed irrelevant too. One thing was the half-burned envelope Nate now held between two fingers. He held it out to Stevie and she pried open gently what was left. Inside was half a note, folded and burned, caked in soot and dust. Kneeling down in front of a badly burned, but somehow still standing, coffee table, she laid the letter out flat and wiped off as much soot as she could without ripping anything. Nate kneeled beside her and squinted his eyes at the note. "Something 'Bolt'." He looked up with a smile. "A good start."

Stevie nodded. "A very good start." Stevie felt sure that the many hours they spent looking for Craig Bolt's hiding place had now paid off. If they could prove it then they could find another reason to arrest Nikolai Brecht, who had still escaped their long arm of the law for now, all the investigation's funds going into finding Bolt. One link to Brecht this strong and surely they'd get more money. She just wished Met money wasn't an issue and therefore the only thing holding them back. She read on. "Something something, I can't read that word, 'Tennyson'." She paused. "There's a Tennyson Road down by the docks, where Bolt's boat is kept." Nate nodded, pulled out his notepad and wrote that down. Stevie kept reading. "More indecipherable stuff, then 'plans', unknown, unknown 'edge of' unknown and then 'done.'" She frowned. "It's like a jigsaw puzzle with 95% of the pieces missing."

Nate tapped the paper. "We've got one though. Letter's from a 'Lenny'. Young I'd say, based on his handwriting – young or at least immature in some way."

Stevie grinned. "You a handwriting expert now?"

"I have many hidden talents." Nate pushed himself back to his feet. "Tennyson Road? Or find this Lenny first?"

"Lenny's a needle in a haystack. Let's go check out Tennyson and Bolt's boat too. If we're lucky Lenny will find us."

"Since when are we lucky?" Nate laughed softly.

"Positive thought Nathanial… positive thought."

It took half an hour to gather all the footage from the area around Cutler Lane. Of course, as was all the cases of kidnap scenes, the place looked so serene – like nothing had happened. Max had stood at the junction of Cutler Lane and Bennet Avenue. In front was Cutler Lane leading back to the hospital. To his right a hardware store and the route to Canley's High Street. To the left closed businesses and the railway underpass. A good place for a kidnapping down there. He tried to push that thought from his head though. But it was always easier said than done with Max. His brain didn't always like to play along too well with his common sense.

After shop owners were forced to part with 10 tapes of footage, the small group headed back to the station where Roger and Hayleigh were waiting for them. Roger mentioned Andrea Roxon, but Max didn't really hear, he just went straight to the Incident Room and pushed the first VHS tape, the footage from a florist on Cutler Lane, into the VCR. At 2:47 he found what he was looking for. Millie and Eleanor walking together down the footpath outside the florist. A minute after them came Bolt's dark blue Mazda. Max paused the tape and took it out, writing a note on the whiteboard beside him. As he wrote Neil, Roger and Will joined him. For an hour they worked through all the footage, fast-forwarding and calculating, checking it on maps. They got a decent timeline going quickly. 2:47 the girls outside the florist, 2:48 Eleanor outside the hardware store, 2:51 Eleanor on High Street. They lost her after that from a lack of footage. Millie however seemed to have turned towards the underpass… and with her went Craig Bolt.

Max picked up the last piece of footage as the others in the room went quiet. They'd checked the High Street late into the hour but Millie had not come that way. They checked back later on Cutler Lane… nothing either. There was only one option left.

"2:47 – the Asian Grocer on the other side of the railway underpass." Max pressed play and they watched the exit of the underpass quietly for five minutes. No one emerged. There was nothing. Max sighed and stopped it at 3:04 a few minutes later. Then he pulled it out and put in the next tape. It was from Cutler Lane, the far end near the hospital, from a restaurant. "2:52 – Bolt's dark-coloured Mazda picks up speed as it leaves Cutler Lane." He paused the video as they got a blurry shot of the numberplate. "Guv?" There was a strangled tone to Max's voice as he lead into what they all knew was about to come.

Neil nodded. "Put out an APW and run the plates through the system and traffic camera alerts. As of now Craig Bolt is suspected to be holding a police officer in his custody." He nodded to the footage as he left the room. "Get that cleaned up and identified. Now."

Max didn't need to be told twice…


Up Next…

Life On The Other Side: Carter

In Part 4 of Life On The Other Side, the team work hard to track down Millie before Craig Bolt does anything that the team will regret. For Max this means revisiting the last time he allowed Millie to fall into a situation beyond their control. Will he be able to tell Millie he's sorry for her ordeal with Mick and Si? And which member of the team will sacrifice their own safety to get her back?

'Carter' starts June 1st